Gorka publicly shuns Tillerson's effort to scale back North Korea red line

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 12, 2017

After Trump's warning to North Korea, the nation's dictator Kim Jong-un threatened through state media that Trump is "failing to grasp the ongoing grave situation" and "sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him".

For those anxious that President Trump might get into nuclear war with North Korea, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson provided some solace Wednesday.

Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, immediately ran to Fox News to downplay comments he made criticizing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The day before, however, Tillerson had told reporters that Americans shouldn't worry too much about Trump's threats to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea.

That's very different from what Tillerson said.

Gorka said that Tillerson had "done an incredible job" to help guide new sanctions against North Korea through the United Nations Security Council, but "when reporters try to force him to make statements regarding military options, they have no idea what they're talking about, and if they think that's a story, they're not journalists".

"Sebastian, you know this is going to be all over the papers and whether you had the exact meaning that people have now interpreted it as, it looks like to some people, it looks like - forget backstabbing, that you frontstabbed the secretary of state and, you know, people look at that and say who was he to admonish the process."

As I wrote Wednesday morning, we may be witnessing a little "Good Cop, Bad Cop" here, with the administration providing different signals to keep North Korea guessing. If a journalist doesn't know the difference between the secretary of state and the department of defense, they should hand in their credentials. "Our policy across the administration is the same", she said. "We never do. I don't talk about it", Trump told reporters when asked about a preemptive strike.

"What they've been doing and what they've been getting away with is a tragedy and it can't be allowed", Trump said.

"Americans should sleep well - have no concerns about this particular rhetoric of the last few days", Tillerson said in response to the question about Trump's "fire and fury" comments.

"For reporters to force our chief diplomat, the awesome Rex Tillerson, to give details of military options is nonsensical", Gorka said, accusing reporters of twisting his words.

Asked again if Tillerson should be listened to, Nauert said, "I think that everyone has clearly heard what Secretary Tillerson's forceful comments have been and have continued to be on DPRK".

The Department of State later weighed in, with spokesperson Heather Nauert defending her boss as America's top diplomat. He's a Cabinet secretary. "He carries a big stick".

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